Mr Aliyu Abubakar, a defence witness in the trial-within-trial of the former Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke (SAN), has told the Federal High Court in Abuja that an Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) officer threatened him to indict former President Goodluck Jonathan in alleged money laundering.
Abubakar, who is also a co-defendant in the suit, told Justice Inyang Ekwo while being led in evidence by his counsel, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), that the officer, Mr Bala Sanga, also threatened him to indict the minister.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Aminu Lawal, the second prosecution witness in the trial-within-trial, had, on May 10, said that Abubakar was neither forced to make statements nor induced to implicate others in the course of the investigation and that he was never threatened to be detained.
Lawal was part of the investigators who took the defendant’s statements on Dec. 31, 2019 and on Jan. 6, 2020. But at the resumed trial on Tuesday, Abubakar, a business mogul, told the judge that the extra-judicial statements he made on December 31, 2019 and on January 6, 2020 were not made voluntarily.
He said on December 31 when he was invited to the EFCC’s office, Sanga threatened to detain him if he refused to make an extra-judicial statement. Besides, Abubakar said on January 6, Sanga, who introduced himself as the new prosecutor in the matter, told him that there was evidence before him (Sanga) which showed that he (Abubakar) gave the sum of 20 million dollars to Adoke.
Abubakar also told the court that Sanga informed him that there was another evidence which indicated that he (Abubakar) gave the sum of 50 million dollars to ex-President Jonathan. “On the 31st December 2019, my lawyer, Ahmed Audu, came to me and said one Ibrahim Ahmed from EFCC called him that they needed clarification from me about this case. I followed my lawyer to the EFCC office. When I got there, some of the EFCC’s staff like Ibrahim, Babaginda and others came in and told me that I must give a confessional statement”.
“They said that things have changed and somebody has to record me (on video), that his name is Bala Sanga. He introduced himself as the new prosecutor in this case. He thanked me and said I should continue to cooperate with them and that they will help me if I continue to cooperate with them. He then asked me questions. He asked my lawyer to write for me and I said no that I will not make any more statements because I had already made statements which are with them”.
“He said if I did not, they would detain me. That was how we started the statement. That was what happened that day. After the statement, I ask Ahmed Ibrahim can I go with my client. They released us around 7.30pm on that day and we protested that I will not sign and my client too”. But they said we will not go until we sign. So they ask us to come on Jan. 6, 2020,” he said. After Uket’s cross-examined Audu, Justice Ekwo adjourned the matter until Sept 28 for hearing.